He heard her. He heard her speaking to someone. He couldn’t see her, but he heard the voice. The beautiful voice. The voice he loved.
The woman he loved.
He stood, hidden in shadow at the Powell Estate, hoping to catch a glimpse of his pink-and-yellow human. It was around midnight, Earth time, and she was out late. Snow was falling down and blanketing the streets. But still, all he saw was her.
She came into view. He held his breath as she walked past, heading for the flat. She was younger than when he knew her. Her hair was longer, but she was still beautiful. She had an innocence about her, one that would diminish during her travels with him.
I did that to her, he thought with some guilt.
He tried to remain quiet; he really did. But another shot of pain hit him and he verbally cried out. He hadn’t realized that she had heard him.
“You alright, mate?”
He turned to the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen.
She looked concerned, not scared. Just like his Rose. Always worrying about other people before herself.
“Too much drink?”
He chuckled internally at that as he laid a hand on the wall to support himself.
“Something like that.”
“Maybe it’s time you went home.”
You have no idea.
She smiled at him then; a gloriously brilliant smile. He was weak in the knees for a moment and he knew it wasn’t from the radiation.
“Anyway, Happy New Year.”
“And you,” he replied.
He knew it was before they met, but he was curious as to exactly when. As she turned away from him, he wanted to speak to her again. Had to speak to her again. He wasn’t ready to say goodbye.
“What year is this?”
She spun back around to him, surprised. “Blimey, how much have you had?”
She looked at him. “2005, January the first.”
She sighed and nodded. He smiled.
“Tell you what,” he said as the memories began flooding his brain, “I bet you’re gonna have a really great year.”
She smiled at him again, the weakness in the knees reappearing. “Yeah?”
He smiled back. “Yeah.”
She seemed to take that to heart. He knew in about three months, she would meet his leather-clad self. They would go on adventures and make wonderful memories. He would fall in love with her the moment he met her, and that love would carry him through all of time and space. Regardless of how many lives he had left, she would always be there, tucked into one of his hearts. Even if he moved on, found someone else, his pink-and-yellow human would always be with him. She was his forever.
“See ya,” she responded and bounded off.
He sighed. He had wanted to say it. He had wanted to tell her how he felt. How could he? She took him for a drunken stranger. It would mean nothing to her. The girl who was his everything. But still. He wanted to say it. He needed to say it. He needed the universe to hear it. It was his last chance. Coward that he is, he whispered the words to her retreating form.
“Rose Tyler, I love you. Forever.”
Reaching the door to the building, she stopped suddenly. Her head turned to the right, as though she was listening for something. Then she turned back and went inside, looking back at the drunken man she had just had a conversation with as she bounded up the stairs.
He smiled to himself at that. Finally, finally she knew. Even if she didn’t know directly; even if he never got up the courage to say it to her when he should have, she still heard him whisper it to her in the dark, snowy night of the New Year. Still would know, deep down, that she had the love of the last Time Lord.
He hoped she would carry that with her. He knew he would. As he began slowly crawling back to the TARDIS, collapsing once on the way, he knew that his love for her, and her love for him, would carry him through. No matter what happened; no matter how many companions he had in the future, she would always be there. Written throughout time and space, as she had once said. He repeated the words in his head as he felt the change happen. His last thoughts were of her, of her love for him and his for her, and what she had promised him. A promise he knew she would keep. The last of him faded away as one word, her word, echoed over and over in his head.